The 3M STEM Education Fellowship Program funds graduate students to work with targeted schools that have been funded by the 3M Foundation to integration STEM in their school curricula. The 3M Fellows work with the schools to help bring known best practices around STEM integration in K-12 classrooms to the schools through: 1) professional development and 2) curriculum development, implementation, and assessment. Our fellows work with Mahtomedi Public Schools, North Saint Paul Schools, and South Washington County Schools. All schools have shown particular interest in Model-Eliciting Activities (MEAs). The graduate students receiving the 3M Fellowship are affiliated with the STEM Education Center and in progress of completing a graduate or Ph.D. degree in one of the STEM disciplines.
Gillian Roehrig, STEM Education Center
The importance of quality STEM education is gaining national attention. Almost 30 percent of students in their first year of college are forced to take remedial science and math classes because they are not prepared for college level courses. The Programme for International Student Assessment (PISA) test shows that U.S. students are behind students in other industrialized nations in STEM critical thinking skills (NSB, 2007). Success in math and science education programs also affects U.S. living standards, economic growth, and national security. There is evidence that U.S students are not receiving sufficient academic preparation in STEM education and for STEM fields (Farmer, 2009; Laird, Alt, & Wu, 2009; Lips & McNeill, 2009; NSB, 2007). Having well prepared and highly qualified STEM teachers is crucial for success and should be a focus for the future (Chen & Weko, 2009; Lips & McNeill, 2009; Moore, 2007; NSB, 2007). Increasing the number of students that take STEM courses and increasing the number of students that pursue STEM fields is important. (Chen & Weko, 2009; Farmer, 2009; Laird et al., 2009; Lips & McNeill, 2009; Moore, 2007; NSB, 2007).
A number of studies have pointed to the influence of teacher’s self-efficacy beliefs on student’s achievement and success at school. Teachers with a strong sense of efficacy are good at planning and organization, open to new ideas, willing to change their teaching methods to meet the needs of students, exhibit enthusiasm, and are committed to their profession. (Caprara et al., 2006)
Using this background information on the importance of STEM and teaching efficacy, 3M STEM Fellows impacted local schools STEM program by:
Generous support from the 3M Foundation has financed past awardees of the 3M STEM Education Fellowship including Debra Monson, Brant Miller, Hui-Hui Wang, Young Rae Kim, J McClelland, Megan Breit-Goodwin, and Micah Stohlmann.
Stohlmann, M., Moore, T.J., McClelland, J., & Roehrig, G.H. (in press). Year-long impressions of a middle school STEM integration program. Middle School Journal.